Other Government Agencies Wanted Access To NSA Surveillance Data For Other Investigations... Including Copyright Infringement

from the seriously-now? dept

Going all the way back to 2010, we've talked many times about how much of the "debate" over "cybersecurity" was really a kind of turf war between the Defense Department (really, the NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security, over who would control both the budgets and the information they were collecting. So it should come as little surprise to see the NY Times reporting that this turf war has been playing out behind the scenes with various other government agencies demanding access to all that sweet, sweet data it has on everyone for whatever their personal area of interest was -- including:
...drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement
To its credit (and I can't believe I'm saying that), it appears that the NSA has rejected most of these requests, saying that those other issues are not high enough of a priority and they don't want to violate privacy rights (don't laugh). Still, given how much pressure is coming from other agencies of the government, you have to expect that sooner or later the NSA will be pressured into opening up the data to other parts of the government. In fact, part of the concern about CISPA and other cybsersecurity legislation wasn't just that it would put the NSA in control over such information, but that it also made it clear that government agencies would be free to share that data with each other, for almost any investigative purpose.

And, of course, that brings us to the "copyright infringement" bit. It's no secret that different parts of the government -- including the DOJ and ICE (a part of Homeland Security) have taken it upon themselves to act as if copyright infringement is a huge problem that they, personally, need to stop. The idea that agencies are even seeking access to the NSA's data to deal with copyright infringement claims shows just how incredibly obsessed they are. Copyright shouldn't even involve federal law enforcement in the first place, as it really should only be about civil cases between private parties. It was troubling enough that the government was deputizing itself to be copyright cops -- but to find out that they also wanted to use the data the NSA collects (which is already of questionable legality) in order to further work on their copyright obsession is downright ridiculous.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 9:41am

    Talk about comedic court cases...

    Given how the NSA treats all the data they scoop up as classified, even to the people it's about, using that information as evidence in a court case would make for one strange trial...

    Prosecutor: The accused, Redacted, is hereby accused of copyright infringement for downloading Redacted on the date of-
    Judge: I'm sorry, but do you think this court is a comedy club to practice jokes in? Either take the case seriously, and read the filing correctly, or I'll hold you in contempt of court.
    Prosecutor: I am taking it seriously your honor, the evidence as filed by my client, and provided by... an anonymous third party has a number of bits redacted and covered over.
    Judge: Let me see that...(Glances over the paper) How about that, you were right. I haven't seen so many black marks since the Prenda lawyers took their bar re-certification exams.

     

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  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    Re: Talk about comedic court cases...

    +funny spree!

    Imagine if they read that foia requests one reader wanted to duct tape in a cycle and fax back a while back. I mean, how do you read a page of black ink?

    "Screw it!" said the judge as he stormed out of the court. A few weeks later he was found living in a trailer near Yellowstone fishing with pointy tree branches and smoking some native weed.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:04am

    I'm starting to wonder if General Petraeus was fired over data that came from these programs.

     

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  4.  
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    Oblate (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    Fun with acronyms

    NSA = Not Sharing Anything

     

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  5.  
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    nosoamazed, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:16am

    It was just a matter of time before they pulled that , soon the MAFIAA will have it's cronies in washington trying to convince the masses that sharing is a terrorist act

     

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  6.  
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    DCX2, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    DEA's Special Operations Division

    Just read about this today. DEA is given "anonymous tips", such as "You'd be told only, 'Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.' And so we'd alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it".

    But you can't use secret tips in Court, right? Well, says one former DEA agent, "It's just like laundering money - you work it backwards to make it clean" - in a process called parallel construction.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-dea-sod-20130805,0,2087915,full.story

     

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  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    Hey, I've written that if Google's data on YOU PIRATES were turned over

    it's at least enough to get search warrant. Only real obstacle is that they don't focus on you. To me, just Google collecting such data is a real threat to freedom -- not that I'm for pirating -- but you pirates still seem unable to look forward to when Google takes off its mask to reveal that the Data Monster is fully cooperating with Big Media

    ALL SPYING IS BAD, EVEN FOR YOU PIRATES!

    When you think surveillance, think Google!

     

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  8.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Re:

    Umm, 'soon'? They've been doing that for decades now, and so far the masses have just ignored them. Between the massive hyperbole arguments they use('Downloading a song is just as bad as hijacking a car!') and human nature, which states that sharing is good and is what enables culture to flourish and grow, their 'arguments' never seem to stand up to public scrutiny.

     

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  9.  
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    AC Unknown (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:26am

    Re: Hey, I've written that if Google's data on YOU PIRATES were turned over

    Where's your evidence that you can't opt out of Google's spying by NOT USING THEIR SERVICES?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:29am

    Re: Hey, I've written that if Google's data on YOU PIRATES were turned over

    Cool hat, where'd you get it?

     

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  11.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:35am

    Re: Hey, I've written that if Google's data on YOU PIRATES were turned over

    'I'm not a pirate but all you dirty pirates better watch out!

    Stridently denying something while at the same time accusing others of it, might want to check out the wiki entry on 'Psychological projection', as your actions fit the psychosis perfectly.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:36am

    given the power they seem to have and how just about every other government in the world has bent over and took it up the rear end as soon as told to, i am surprised that the copyright infringement, certainly of the entertainments industries and Hollywood material, isn't top of the list and all the really important, life-threatening stuff like drug trafficking, isn't pushed further down. you only have to ask someone like Dodd and you will be told that 'his' industry is the life-blood of the USA (believe that whole heap of lies and bullshit if you like!)! it's certainly financing the head of government and others and they were threatened that if they didn't do as ordered, their funding could be withdrawn. why everyone has to penalise the rest of the world over a movie or some music is beyond me!

     

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  13.  
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    S. T. Stone, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:46am

    Re: Hey, I've written that if Google's data on YOU PIRATES were turned over

    Hey, OOTB: what about Facebook, or Twitter, or any other service that relies on user-submitted content and can potentially track you across multiple websites?

    I donít see you going after any of those, so until you do, quit singling out Google as the only problem in town.

    Also: HOSTS file block on Google and all its services (including YouTube, Blogger, and Gmail), use HTTPS Everywhere, disable cookies, use DuckDuckGo. There, your Google problem is (mostly) solved.

     

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  14.  
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    Nick (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:52am

    I was thinking this for weeks because I did not want to give anyone any ideas. But I should have known those sleazy bastards (the content lobby) would try to go this low.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:22pm

    This data is like performance enhancing drugs: illegal, unethical, secretive, and hard to resist if you're getting paid based on performance.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Hey, I've written that if Google's data on YOU PIRATES were turned over

    Can we get some moderation on these reposts? It's just the same off-topic shit over and over in every thread.

     

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  17.  
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    ss, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    And this, for me, encapsulates most of the issue in its entirety: If a government entity has these data then every other government department that sees value in these data will be after these data. It takes one tiny hole in the firewall to render it useless. The mere collection and retention is the existing hole and it can only get bigger.

    "Turnkey tyranny" - Only there is no key to turn and there is no deadbolt.

    America is fucked because we're led, in fact, by a bunch of scared ass pussy cats, pussies who'll shut down everything instead of work harder at achieving what they're supposed to stand for.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Do it. Share it and spread it all round

    If the govt were honest about the total surveillance state they are working so hard to get implemented, they would share this data. Then the public would finally be dragged kicking and screaming into accepting the reality that we live in- a surveillance state steadily moving towards police state. And they would get exactly what they deserve for their lack of vigilance. This is not just the judicial, legislative or executives fault we are in this reality today. It is also very much the fault of the general populace.

     

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  19.  
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    jameshogg (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:04pm

    I actually cannot stop laughing.

    When the NSA, with all its malware spreading, corporation colluding, secretive spying, encryption cracking, ISP collaborating, and this last bit is key, DRM hijacking, REJECTS your calls for a Luddite utopia, your philosophy is dead.

    There is such a thing as a tipping point, and I think the NSA rejecting the chance to enforce copyright while it abuses every privacy moral out there tells you everything. It means it's over.

    And who is to say that the internet will stay the way it is now? What if in 20 or 30 years' time the internet is ten thousand times faster and ten thousand times more anonymous? What, dear copyright believers, will you do then? Apart from bellowing your self-pitying Luddism left, right and centre?

    I know what I will do as a radical crowdfunding supporter: rejoice at that ten-thousand-fold increase's power to reap in much more crowdfunds much faster. Not a hint of Luddism exists in my philosophy.

     

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  20.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:14pm

    What if in 20 or 30 years' time the internet is ten thousand times faster and ten thousand times more anonymous?


    I have little doubt that the internet will eventually become effectively a locked-down broadcasting medium rather than the the public forum it is now, and it will be relegated to serving the same people and needs as cable television. When that happens, we will have to replace it with something else.

    So I'd rephrase your question: What if in 20 or 30 years' time the popular replacement for the internet is ten thousand times faster and ten thousand times more anonymous?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    This is old news. How else did the DoJ gain access to Kim Dotcom's Skype logs? They certainly are providing information for copyright infringement cases, most likely criminal infringement only at this point....

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:42pm

    It has always struck me as silly that the NSA needed the data to catch terrorists. Any terrorists worth his salt will use ways of communicating that escape the NSA dragnet - at the very least, until the attack has taken place.

    But if the huge databases had been intended to go after the lesser drug dealers or the small-scale copyright infringers, now, then it starts to make much more sense...

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 2:00pm

    Copyright shouldn't even involve federal law enforcement in the first place...

    Umm, there is such a thing as criminal copyright infringement (just ask the NinjaVideo defendants), why shouldn't law enforcement use the tools at its disposal. Bummer when criminal laws are enforced, huh?

     

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  24.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 3:34pm

    Re:

    why shouldn't law enforcement use the tools at its disposal


    And that, right there, is a very good reason why the the NSA's activities should not be allowed. Their special dispensation to spy into the private details of all of our lives inevitably become just about "law enforcement tool" -- one that would be absolutely illegal if the law enforcement agencies themselves ran it.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 3:38pm

    Avoid everything that is related with Microsoft, Google, Apple and start using alternatives, there are even alternatives to $ and Ä :)

     

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  26.  
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    Loki, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Talk about comedic court cases...

    Obviously, as the emerging DEA/SOD stories report and much like the NSA does to Congress, these agencies are just lying and making up stories about how they got their evidence.

    I suspect that it is just a matter of time before other agencies like DOJ/ICE are outed as having gotten data from the NSA (despite their continued protests of "we don't do that").

     

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  27.  
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    Loki, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Not all of us have ignored them. Some of us have gone from among their staunchest supporters to some of their most virulent critics (in large part because of their ridiculous and clearly unsupportable claims).

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: Hey, I've written that if Google's data on YOU PIRATES were turned over

    Agreed, anyone really that concerned about privacy issues would almost certainly be worried first and foremost about Microsoft. After all it doesn't matter what browser or websites one uses when there are ways to acquire that information at the operating system level.

     

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  29.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 4:35pm

    Re:

    Umm, there is such a thing as criminal copyright infringement

    Never said otherwise. Am merely saying there shouldn't be. It makes no sense.

     

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  30.  
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    AnonCow, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 4:43pm

    Make sure you take the battery out of your phone and wear a hat that obscures your face before you jaywalk. Otherwise, you'll soon be getting a ticket for the offense from your local police department.

     

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  31.  
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    AngryMILF, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 4:48pm

    Why can't suspicious spouses use the data to determine if their spouse is being unfaithful?

    Societally, that carries at least as much importance, or more, as copyright violations.

     

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  32.  
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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 4:52pm

    [blockquote]To its credit (and I can't believe I'm saying that), it appears that the NSA has rejected most of these requests, saying that those other issues are not high enough of a priority and they don't want to violate privacy rights (don't laugh).[/blockquote]

    Don't be too quick to give them credit. You already know that aren't concerned about privacy - except for theirs of course. A much more likely explanation is that it's nothing more than a power game.

    Why give away what you can trade for almost anything you want? This is the most valuable commodity on the political market. It's like an unlimited supply of IOUs from every other branch of government. The only value this has anything to do with is trade value.

     

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  33.  
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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 4:53pm

    I really need to use the Preview function when I'm switching between ubb and html boards

     

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  34.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yup, forget piracy, they really are their own worst enemy.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 9:43pm

    Re: Re:

    Seriously? You believe that it should not be a crime to copy the movie I financed and produced and distribute it for your own personal profit?

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re: Hey, I've written that if Google's data on YOU PIRATES were turned over

    It came on a big roll of hats, very cheap too (but you have to mould the sheet to your head)!

     

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  37.  
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    Pragmatic, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 5:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What if you're just sharing it with friends for nothing? Don't tell me you never let your buddies borrow your DVDs or anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's not criminal copyright infringement. What I described is and unbelievably, Masnick thinks it should not be a criminal offense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 6:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Could you please explain why the hell you need the feds involved when a lawsuit would suffice?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2013 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Show us the millions of dollars that basement-dwelling teenagers stole from artists, preventing them from funding another solid-gold Humvee.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Evelyn Williams, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 11:46pm

    I was busy with my work and when I am back, itís quite exciting to find such a nice write up as I used to enjoy earlier. Thank you, for helping us to improve our knowledge and to bring out new topics that are interesting and worth reading. How frequently you update your website?

    Regards:
    Do You Need an Accountant to Divorce?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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